Four in five shoppers would stop shopping with a fashion brand or retailer on ethical grounds.
That is the big take-out from a large research-driven white paper I’ve just written with London Research in association with Trustpilot. It was a really interesting project to be involved with, particularly as it is not just theoretical. Just over half of consumers in the US, UK and several EU markets say they have already been steered to drop or adopt a brand based on coverage of their ethical and environmental policies.
The research showed that, in top joint spot, customers want brands to treat staff fairly throughout their entire supply chain and produce clothes with as small an impact on the environment as possible. Running a recycling service came in third, on the list of their priorities.
The really interesting part was to then speak to some brands, such as Savile Row Co which has already switched to recyclable packaging and Savnt which has some really advanced policies. Instead of running sales, it offers to plant extra trees for customers to offset the carbon impact of producing a garment. The German brand also offers a virtual tour of its Portuguese factory to show how well staff are treated.
There was also Birdsong which pays workers the London living wage to make clothes which are packed by a charity in the capital. To move away from over consumption, we also have FARFETCH in the report talking about how they allow customers to sell on items so they get a second life. The brand also allows shoppers to search for items not just by size and collection, but also by environmental and ethical credentials.
We’re not yet at the stage where these considerations outweigh the size, look, cost and the design of a garment but the brands I talked to here are convinced we’re at a point where people will soon start to prioritise fashion purchases from companies that share their ethical values.